Minister deplores big stick but says it worked


p2102elferinkjohnokBy ERWIN CHLANDA
“It’s saddening we had to threaten parents with the big stick but miraculously they responded immediately,” says Health Minister John Elferink (pictured).
He says the result of his and the Chief Minister’s announcement yesterday was that last night there was much less vandalism and rock throwing which had the town in uproar for a week.
He says 29 children were picked up and taken to their parents who were “read the riot act” with the result that many of them returned to their bush communities today.
Nine infringement notices had been issued.
But Mr Elferink conceded it would be difficult to take children into care – as had been announced yesterday in the event of the parents failing to act – because of the scarcity of resources.
He says preparations to increase them had now started with moves to improve communications between departments, “breaking down silos”.
This may include bush police officers monitoring school attendance.
In town camps Territory Housing tenants would be reminded of their contractual obligations with respect to the number of guest they are allowed to have, and the duration they are allowed to stay.
Mr Elferink says it is clear more foster places and other facilities where children can compulsorily be taken into care will be needed in case of new outbreaks of anti-social behaviour.
He compared the difficulty of budgeting for such contingencies with having an army in peacetime – and suddenly being confronted by war.
“We are creating the planning process now, putting a director in charge of marrying up several departments and assessing costs,” says Mr Elferink.


  1. “29 children were picked up and taken to their parents who were ‘read the riot act’ with the result that many of them returned to their bush communities today.”
    Some of 29 bush kids have left town, that leaves a couple of hundred to go.

  2. It is the responsibility of NT Government to provide required resources.
    I am confident John Elferink still tries hard, not so sure about some other MLAs.
    All MLAs need to provide written reports to their electorates, setting out what each did to ensure students within their electorate do not miss schooling, and how those missing it were dealt with.
    It is essential that there are more boarding school arrangements for ALL the NT post-primary or secondary students.
    The only exemption is when other suitable schooling arrangements are being undertaken.
    Boarding school basic costs for each youth need to be no higher than Centrelink’s allowance for each youth.
    Education is compulsory and essential.
    It remains essential to ensure all incoming students understand they need comply with mainstream acceptable behaviour, or accept consequences for where they do not.
    Success depends a lot on positive peer pressure.
    Boarding schools enable schooling, with ongoing contact and regular return visits to family and relations.
    At the end of the day, it depends on each individual to make most of all opportunities they provided.

  3. Can we assume then, re the return of young people to their bush communities, that the fearless Minister
    has provided a parallel to “we have stopped the boats”?

  4. That’s a lot of crap. There are fewer kids on the street at night now is because the silent policeman is out. It’s bloody cold and that’s the reason. A threat from the Elf is just that … a threat with no action.


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